President-elect Donald Trump plans to nominate Scott Pruitt, the Republican attorney general of Oklahoma and a frequent legal adversary to President Obama, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a transition official told The Hill.
If confirmed by the Senate to oversee the 15,000-employee agency, Pruitt would take the lead on dismantling the EPA regulations that Trump targeted throughout his campaign as job killers that restrict economic growth.
Pruitt has been a legal opponent of President Obama over nearly every major regulation and executive action, not only on environmental issues but also ObamaCare, immigration and bathroom use by transgender people.
Pruitt has led litigation against Obama’s landmark climate rule for power plants, as well as water regulations and standards for ground-level ozone pollution, haze, methane and more.
As EPA head, Pruitt would help carry out Trump’s campaign promises to repeal Obama’s entire executive climate change agenda, including the Clean Power Plan, which the president-elect said he will target in his first 100 days in office.
Trump also wants to repeal the Clean Water Rule, roll back rules on fossil fuel production, review all existing regulations for potential repeal, put a moratorium on nearly all new regulations and require that two rules be repealed for every new rule put in place.
The Clean Power Plan is the centerpiece of Obama’s climate push, ordering a 32 percent cut in the energy sector’s carbon dioxide emissions by 2030.
Trump sees the plan as part of a “war on coal” by Obama.
“We’re going to get those miners back to work,” Trump said at a campaign rally.
Pruitt has taken a lead role among Republican attorneys general challenging the plan and has argued it would shut down numerous coal-fired power plants in Oklahoma and raise electricity prices.
“This is an effort that I think is extraordinary in cost, extraordinary in scope, and I think extraordinary as it relates to the intrusion into the sovereignty of the states,” Pruitt said in September about the regulation.
He charged that the rule “coerces” states to reorganize their electricity systems and “commandeers” state resources to do that, in violation of the Constitution.
“It’s an invasion ... of the state regulatory domain, and it’s something that is unique and breathtaking as it relates to the kind of rule making the EPA has engaged in historically,” he said.
Pruitt and his fellow GOP attorneys general succeeded in convincing the Supreme Court to put an unprecedented pause on the rule earlier this year.
Pruitt has also been a key figure in fighting the Clean Water Rule, also known as Waters of the United States, which asserts federal jurisdiction over small waterways like wetlands and streams.
It's going to be a fun year.